POLAR VORTEX

Tens of millions of Americans have been experiencing a Polar Vortex, which, in layman terms, is a large pocket of extremely cold air that usually sits over the polar region, but occasionally makes its way here [Thanks for the explanation, JB]. This unexpected house guest has been with us for what seems like eternity, freezing parts of the central and eastern United States. The good news is that this blast of bitter cold, which has wreaked havoc on everything from travel to delivery, and even been linked to the deaths of at least 10 people, is expected to be a distant memory this weekend. In fact, according to AccuWeather forecasts, Sunday and Monday may feel more like March days from Atlanta to Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, New York City and Boston.

MEASLES OUTBREAK

Washington state continued to make nonpolitical news headlines this week as the number of measles cases continued to rise–it’s currently at 38. Other states such as Georgia, Hawaii, and Oregon are now confirming cases as well, and the presence of this highly-contagious disease in these other states is starting to prompt warning calls nationwide from the CDC. After all, the disease had been eliminated in the US in the year 2000. But now, it’s back – and with a vengeance. Last year, 349 people were infected with measles; 2019 could be worse.

A ‘PATIENT’ FED

On Wednesday, the central bank reiterated what we already know – the economy is growing at a nice clip, and inflation is hovering near its target. As expected, the Fed did therefore not raise its key interest rate. But in a reversal from December, it said it will be “patient” as it decides when to change them again. The market liked what it heard, and if you’re a borrower, you should, too.

THE NEW FACE OF SKATING

Ever heard of a kid by the name of Alysa Liu? Neither had we, until this week! At age 13, Alysa just became the youngest women’s champion skater in U.S. history, erasing the record previously held by Tara Lipinski, who was 14 when she won the national title back in 1997. Too young to compete internationally on the senior level, the pint-sized Liu will be 16 and well within eligibility for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. She’ll be one to watch, particularly since the U.S. hasn’t won an Olympic medal for women’s figure skating since 2006.